PRESENT:

As identified on the Attendance List

OARA RESIDENTS

Alma Road

  • Peter Wirgman
  • Barbara Fitzjohn
  • Sue Shennan

Avenue Road

  • D Campbell
  • Helen Muscat

Highcliff Avenue

  • Cate Davis

Spear Road

  • Ed Parsons

Gordon Avenue

  • Sue Swallow
  • Barbara Sheppard
  • Peter Syvret
  • Dorothy Haslehurst

Cambridge Road

  • Mary Hockey

Earls Road

  • Richard Long
  • Susan Silva

OARA Committee

  • Gordon Gillies (Chair)
  • Richard Hill (Vice Chair)
  • T Jacobs (Membership Secretary)
  • Andy Haslehurst (Treasurer)
  • Lynn Murphy (Secretary)
  • Rosy Maguire (Committee Member)
  • Phine Dahle (Committee Member)

Southampton City Council

  • Cllr Stephen Barnes-Andrews

Hampshire Police

  • PCSO Lee Scott

Other attendees

  • Stephen Connolly (Highfield RA)
  • Frankie Fry (SUSU)
  • Jerry Gillen

Apologies:

  • Paula Noyce (Minutes Secretary)
  • Cllrs Burke and Rayment
  • Matt Conrad
  • Petrina Boddington
  • Barbara Matcham
  • Heather Soper
  • Mark and Carolyn Page, (Residents)

1 Welcome

Gordon opened the meeting by welcoming all of the attendees. The apologies were given. He explained that he would circulate the current Action List, and the results of the Mapping exercise. He also drew attention to the photographs hung on the walls of the Plant Swap, Big Lunch and Community Gardening project.

2 Southampton University’s Students Union (SUSU)

2.1 Frankie Fry, Vice President of Welfare & Communities

Gordon introduced Frankie Fry, Vice President of Welfare and Communities at Southampton University’s Students Union (SUSU). Frankie explained that her role involved the welfare of the students in all its forms, and the encouragement of students to take part in community activities. The purpose is to promote good community relations.

2.2 The SSH Campaign

Frankie briefly outlined the Southampton Street Harmony campaign – commonly known as SSH. SSH aims to reduce student noise and encourage students living in residential areas to be good and responsible neighbours. They have:

  • Introduced Street Marshals to accompany students back to Halls of Residence after evenings out.
  • A Duty Manager whose telephone number is available to local residents concerned about anti-social behaviour by students
  • Made a video promoting community relations.
  • A concerted campaign to encourage students to volunteer for community projects
  • A weekly market every Monday with stall selling local produce to which we’re invited
  • A dedicated website at http://www.susu.org/ which contains details of all of their activities
  • Produced a Housing Booklet which informs students of their responsibilities – click the Housing link at: http://www.susu.org/life/
  • A range of events, a Safety Bus and food and water at all student events to encourage responsible drinking
  • Produced a Community Newsletter which we should all receive

2.3 Questions

Frankie was asked a number of questions about how SUSU conducts its affairs and encourages students to behave responsibly in residential areas, whether they live there or are just passing through on their way home.

2.3.1 Alcohol

One particular area of concern is drinking in the street. At this point, PCSO Lee Scott explained what the police will do. Students carrying glasses of drink will have them confiscated and be asked where they got the glass from. The police will then go the named pub with the Licensing Team from the council. They will also take the student’s details and contact the University.

The PCSOs and Special Constables patrol student areas until 2.00 AM in Freshers Week, both to prevent anti-social behaviour and minimise the chances of the students being victims of crime.

They also visit persistent offenders, and make contact with SUSU and the University of Southampton (UoS).

2.3.2 Student engagement

Frankie was asked several questions about how we as a Residents’ Association can engage with the students and ensure that they consider us when they have parties. Frankie responded that talking to students was always the best way of engaging with them. It was commented that SUSU are making great efforts to encourage good student behaviour but the University itself doesn’t seem to take the same level of responsibility Frankie responded that some UoS staff do attend local Residents Meetings but she would look into what they actually do and feedback to Gordon. Action: Frankie Fry

It is also possible for us to apply to the University for funding for specific projects. Alternatively, we can contact SUSU to find out what skills the students might be able to offer to us for our projects. Action: Committee members to find out 1. what funding might be available and 2. what skills the students might be able to offer.

Gordon thanked Frankie for attending the meeting.

3 Recent Criminal Activity

PCSO Lee Scott updated the meeting on recent criminal activities. There has been a spate of car break-ins and the odd burglary. The police have set up a couple of operations to target the increase. Lee has asked for the OARA geographical area to be designated as a Prime Crime Location. This means that it receives additional police resources from off-duty officers as well as those on duty. They record potential vulnerabilities to cars and properties and inform the owners of what they can do to mitigate those risks. This has been in place since mid August.

Two people have been arrested in the last week and have admitted 41 offences between them.

There is always a significant increase in crime when the students return, so we all need to be vigilant and report any vulnerabilities to Lee.

It was commented that Eastleigh police use Twitter to very good effect but this appears too be less visible in Southampton. Lee responded that he has his own Twitter account which he regularly updates on the move. His address is @PCSOLeeScott or http://twitter.com/#!/PCSOLeeScott Action: Gordon to inform OARA members of the Twitter feed

Lee reported that the police are now using Bluetooth to send text messages to all Bluetooth mobiles in an area with relevant messages.

4 Bin Collections

Gordon summarised the situation thus far with the bin collections: there have been sporadic but inconsistent collections of green and blue lidded bins, but none of the green waste sacks since 23rd May when the industrial action first started.

He invited Cllr Barnes-Andrews to update the meeting on the latest situation. Cllr Barnes-Andrews responded that the official dispute is over, but the men are working to rule. This means that they will not:

  • Do any overtime to catch-up on missed collections
  • Collect any side rubbish in black bags or sacks
  • Collect any bin whose lid is not fully closed
  • Enter any front gardens to empty bins that have been placed on the curtilage of the property

He advised residents to leave their bins out on the pavement on the normal collection day and it should be collected within 48 hours.

4.1 Waste recycling

It was commented that Endle Street, the local waste recycling facility, is due to close in December but the new facility at Dock Gate 20 might not be open until January. Cllr Barnes-Andrews was asked to request the delay of the closure of Endle Street until the new facility is open. Cllr BarnesAndrews agreed to raise this with the Leader of the Council at the next council meeting in November. Action: Cllr Barnes-Andrews

4.2 Return of the students

It was noted that rubbish and litter levels will rise significantly when the students return and the continuing problem with bin collections would only exacerbate that. Cllr Barnes-Andrews responded that the city has a particular problem with landlords emptying their unwanted furniture onto the street. If there are any problems with this, they should be reported straight away to Cllr Barnes-Andrews.

He has a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor of the University next week and wants to persuade them to invest some money in “responsible students” for an area who would be paid an honorarium to assist with such matters. He said that if any of us have a problem with dumped rubbish that we should call him. He distributed his card after the meeting.

4.3 Contact with landlords and the council

Gordon reported that he had written to all known landlords in the area at the height of the dispute asking them to ensure that they kept their properties tidy. He personally thanked Barbara Sheppard for compiling the list of landlords and their email addresses. We may have to repeat this exercise in the coming weeks.

He had also written to Cllr Royston Smith (Leader of the Council) several times and believes that this may have assisted in obtaining some bin collections. The RA approved the idea of writing to Royston Smith again. Action: Gordon

5 Mapping Our Area

Gordon thanked Rosy Maguire, Richard Hill and T Jacobs for their assistance in mapping the demographics of the OARA area. The council in the past has disputed the number of HMOs that exist in the area but we now have demonstrable evidence.

The current estimate of HMOs varies between 40% and 60%. Understanding how many HMOs there are (Housing in Multiple Occupation) enables us to challenge planning applications for HMOs when there are such pressures on parking, and refute claims by Councillors that there isn’t a problem with HMOs in the area.

Gordon reported that there were still one or two missing pieces of evidence. Rosy volunteered to fill in the gaps Action: Rosy

6 Logo Competition

Gordon announced that we had received four entries for the logo competition. He had asked Matt Conrad, our Webmaster, local resident and businessman to do the judging for us. Matt runs his own digital design company including websites and logos. He is therefore well placed to judge the merits of each on:

  • Their reproducibility in colour and black and white
  • How well they represent the area
  • Their credibility

The winner is Barbara Fitzjohn.

7 Projects for 2011

7.1 Greening Group

Phine gave an update on the planters, plant swap and Big Lunch; all had gone well. On the negative side, our aspirations for an extra planter and seat on the corner of Gordon Avenue and Livingstone Road had been derailed by the cost of these items as they have to be of a certain standard and are thus very expensive.

The plants in the planters have been donated by local residents, and other local residents have been watering them.

Contact has been made with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for advice on the best plants to buy for the planters, and also for sunny and shady front gardens.

Another Plant Swap is planned for May 2012.

7.2 Street cleaning

We had cleaned the whole area but had stopped because of the bin strike. Gordon asked the meeting whether we should start our community clean-ups again, or wait until the bin situation had reverted to normal. It was noted that if we had our own litter pickers and brooms etc, we could be more responsive than having to wait for the council to lend them to us. It was agreed that we would restart the community clean-ups.

Gordon asked Cllr Barnes-Andrews whether the council would be able to dispose of the bags of rubbish generated by a community clean-up. Cllr Barnes-Andrews said that this was possible and that we would need to ring him to arrange for this to happen.

8 Autumn Newsletter

Richard Hill is leading on this with Kate Levan, a journalist and local resident. They are meeting on 21st to put together the first draft. As well as articles about our achievements, the newsletter will also welcome students into the area. Gordon asked whether the police could also produce a small article for inclusion. Action: PCSO Lee Scott Richard asked the meeting to submit articles. Action: all SUSU will also be invited to contribute an article. Action: Richard to contact Frankie Fry

9 Financial Update

9.1 OARA finances

Andy reported that we have £375 in the OARA account, and have now received £550 from the Community Chest grant. Although this fell well short of what we had originally applied for (£5,500), we would be able to buy our own litter pickers, and pay for reprographic costs. The council felt that it would be inappropriate to fund our other aspirations (bench and new planter) in the current climate.

Peter Wirgman commented that £500 is about the average grant from the Community Chest. There is a lot of funding available from other sources, but we have to have a specific and costed project before we could apply to them. Peter agreed to send the details of the other funding sources to Andy. Action: Peter Wirgman

For the benefit of new attendees, Gordon reminded the meeting of the voluntary annual £3 donation.

10 Conclusion

Gordon concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for attending.

10.1 Dates of next meetings

  • Tuesday 6th December 2011
  • Tuesday 24th January 2012

Action: all to note

Gordon asked the meeting whether it would be beneficial to arrange another general meeting before the December one to pick up on the issues that we had not had time to discuss today: parking, planning, landlords and road/pavement improvements. This was agreed. Action: Committee Secretary to arrange.